Radicalized Vermont State Sen. Alison Clarkson
Our use of language and the word radicalized is intentional. In the same way some otherwise peace loving and normal Americans have become radicalized by fringe elements of Islam, it’s also happening in the environmental movement. Otherwise rational people are becoming radicalized–with an irrational, intense hatred against fossil fuels like natural gas. It’s totally bonkers. One of the places it’s happening–Vermont.
Vermont State Sen. Alison Clarkson, Democrat, has introduced a bill that if it becomes law, will outlaw building new oil and natural gas pipelines in the state. No new pipelines, period. No new local utility pipelines, no new interstate or intrastate pipelines. No new nothing. Why? She has an irrational hatred of fossil fuels and believes in the fairy tale that burning fossil fuels is causing Mom Earth to toast, even though there is no such evidence.
If Democratic and Progressive lawmakers have their way, Vermont could become the first state to ban new oil and natural gas pipelines.
Sen. Alison Clarkson, D-Windsor, gave the Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee Tuesday a run-through of S.66, a bill that would prohibit new fossil fuel infrastructure.
“We feel fairly strongly that investing further in the infrastructure at this point in time … would be imprudent given that we hope, as Vermonters addressing climate change — one of the greatest challenges of our time — that we will move to more energy efficient and renewable sources,” she said to the five senators on the committee.
The prohibition would not apply to gas stations, fuel trucks or repairs to existing pipelines, said Clarkson.
The proposal comes as part of a spate of proposals from environmental advocates to address the state’s rising greenhouse gas emissions. Heating contributes just shy of 28 percent of total emissions, with heating oil and propane accounting for 75 percent of those emissions, natural gas contributing 22 percent and wood heat contributing 3 percent. Portland, Oregon, and King County, Washington have recently enacted similar bans.
The bill does not single out natural gas pipelines, but Julie Macuga of 350Vermont — a climate change advocacy group that has been pushing for this ban — said she was not aware of any other major fossil fuel infrastructure being planned in Vermont.
Environmentalists and Vermont Gas, the state’s lone natural gas utility, have squared off in recent years over the company’s plans to build a 41-mile pipeline from Colchester to Middlebury.
Although the Addison County pipeline was completed in 2017, the project has been mired in an ongoing state investigation into its construction methods. Nearby residents and the state’s Department of Public Service asked Vermont’s utility regulator to look into concerns including pipeline depth and whether a professional engineer had signed off on the construction plans.
Macuga cited climate change and safety concerns over future natural gas pipelines as the primary drivers behind the push for a statewide ban.
“In an ideal world, we would be stopping any use of fossil fuels, but we realize that’s not going to happen overnight,” she said.
Beth Parent, communications manager for Vermont Gas Systems, said switching to natural gas from propane and heating oil cuts down on carbon emissions for customers.
“We believe that this bill as written would result in fewer clean energy choices and higher carbon emissions for our state,” said Parent.
The company had originally contemplated extending the pipeline into Rutland County, but is no longer considering that expansion, she said.
Sen. Chris Bray, D-Addison, committee chair, asked whether the ban would apply to Vermont Gas’ rollout of distribution lines to connect neighboring towns to the main Addison County pipeline. Clarkson said details like that would be up to committee members, should they decide to take up the bill.
“Pipelines in the works, that’s a big question — do you allow a project to be completed?” she said.
Sen. Corey Parent, R-Franklin, said in an interview after that access to natural gas, which is generally cheaper than heating with propane or oil, has been “one of the driving economic development forces” in St. Albans.
“I think oftentimes in the Legislature they’ll put a bill in that sounds good, but you (need to) look at the implications,” he said.
Vermont Gas has also been developing a program that allows customers to pay extra for “renewable attributes” of natural gas from methane generated by landfills and other sources in Canada. Parent said he would like to know how the infrastructure ban would impact proposals to expand methane gas delivery.
The House Energy and Technology Committee is reviewing the same proposal in the form of H.51.*
No new pipelines, yet bloviating numskulls like Sen. Clarkson will be the first ones to investigate local utility companies like Vermont Gas should they threaten to cut off new natural gas customers. When will people like Sen. Clarkson be held to account for her actions?! You can’t ban pipelines and then demand more gas be delivered, as if by waving a magic wand it can happen.
Westchester County and soon Long Island are learning these lessons the hard way. This is the fate that Vermont will also endure if such an utterly stupid bill is signed into law.
*VTDigger (Feb 6, 2019) – Senate panel gets look at bill that would ban new oil and gas pipelines
Copy of the idiotic bill introduced by Clarkson:
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